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Is Conflict resolution in Sales managers' skillset? Can we learn from HR and their work in it?
The Stages to Follow for Successful Conflict Resolution
Thinking - Feeling - Saying - Doing
It is very common for salespeople working in their sales
role to face conflict as part of their job. It makes sense therefore that the
more customers ( internal and external) that you work with and the busier that
your schedule becomes, the higher the frequency of challenging people
and situations that you will face.
b) Show empathy and/or apologise( if appropriate) 'feel their pain' in order to
diffuse client hostility or frustration.
c)Sayit right. Appreciate their concern and your desire to better
understand and resolve the matter. Thank them for drawing the matter to your
attention. Let them know of your desire to resolve the issue. Ask them if they
would be willing to discuss it further and provide you with details regarding
d) Sensitively ask for an explanation, work towards gaining
their perspective, feelings about the situation and the facts regarding the
issue. Use open-ended questions ( who , what, when, where and how) to get them
to open up and provide as much detail as possible.
e) Listen actively. Paraphrase (rather than echo the
client’s words), confirm, expand, acknowledge and gain a full understanding.
Also pay attention, use your observation ‘radar’ skills to
read between the lines and pick up on hidden meanings and innuendo and body
f) Isolate the problem(s), ask if there is anything else.
Repeat the process outlined above until you have all the concerns, emotions,
perspectives and facts out in the open.
understanding of what you have learned. Separate the root cause of conflict
when secondary issues are present. Secondary matters will often automatically
be resolved by rectifying the root cause. Check to ensure that you have clearly
understood the matter and that you are on the same page as the customer.
h) If there is a legitimate, justifiable explanation then
offer the explanation, answer, address .Do not make excuses, direct blame or
Ask for acceptance or acknowledgement of your explanation
and whether or not this resolves the matter. Sometimes when you talk it out
with people in this manner they realise that it isn't as bad as they initially
thoughtor that they had some degree of
fault in the situation. Once you have explained, confirm that the matter is
resolved to the customer's satisfaction or closed.
i) If you are unable to resolve up to this point, then ask,
within reason, what they would like to have done to resolve the matter. Gain a
very clear understanding of what they are asking for before agreeing to
j .1. Resolve the
conflict if the client request is reasonable or acceptable. You may still have
to apply some negotiation skills to ensure that you don't leave the door open
for them exploit further..
2. Negotiate if possible, if necessary or if you are able
to. This would apply if the client is asking for more than what is considered
to be reasonable or acceptable.
3. Bow out gracefully if necessary.
For many salespeople and sales managers, resolving conflict
doesn't come naturally, it is something that they need to work at.
Good News : There are specialists to hand both as mediation trainers and HR
to help you. I am grateful to Panos Papakostis (TCM Group) for news from the Personnel Today awards this week at London's Hilton Hotel.
Employment Relations the Rt Hon Edward Davey MP. presented a major new award
celebrating mediation success yesterday 23rd November 2011 at the event.
County Council –were the winners of the
inaugural award for Innovation in Dispute resolution . Congratulations
Today Awards, featuring the best HR teams of the year, were hosted
at the Hilton Hotel in central London on the 23rd of November 2011. Amongst the
awards wasthe inaugural
Dispute Resolution’ Award,
sponsored by The TCM Group, was presented by the
Minister for Employment Relations, the Rt Hon Edward Davey MP.
( TCM Group are a specialist private sector provider of
mediation and dispute resolution services. I visited the TCM stand in October
this year at the HR Performance 2011 Show at Olympia see link at end of this
The award was presented to the HR team that most clearly
demonstrated innovation in this area.
Dispute resolution is an HR issue of growing importance as
is evidenced by the Government's recent consultation on workplace disputes.
During his speech, Ed Davey commented on the way UK
businesses can change their working culture by using mediation. Ed Davey
mentioned that he is delighted that David Liddle and the mediation experts from
The TCM Group have had the foresight for creating and sponsoring this exciting
The HR teams shortlisted for this year’s award were:
The panel of judges was looking for examples of innovative
practices such as:
training HR teams to
act as mediators and peacemakers
training and supporting line managers to resolve disputes,
and encouraging early
dispute resolution within and across teams.
They evaluated the efforts taken by all the team entrants to
develop and embed a system for resolving workplace disputes, grievances and
complaints and decided that the 2011 ‘Innovation in Dispute Resolution Award’
winner is East Sussex County Council.
David Liddle, TCM’s Founder and Director commented:
“I would like to congratulate East Sussex County Council for
winning this prestigious and coveted award. I admire their creativity and
commitment and I celebrate the positive impact that mediation has had across
their organization, as it has across so many other organisations across the UK.
I would also like to thank the Rt Hon. Edward Davey MP for presenting the award
and for the Government’s increasing support for mediation”